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When UK-based psybient trance band Shpongle released the 20-minute video And the Day Turned to Night in 1998, there was hysteria. Hypnotic spirals, colour-changing aliens, a knife-wielding clown and a sinister-looking Mickey Mouse shocked many, but also ensured the band a massive fan following. Indian listeners of Shpongle will be happy to know that Simon Posford, aka DJ Hallucinogen, the man behind the band and Younger Brother — a rock-oriented trance project — are on a five-city tour of the country that started on November 26. "Shpongle goes beyond classification and yet incorporates elements from genres such as jazz, classical and even Indian music. And Younger Brother has vocals and is like Pink Floyd, but with laptops," explains Posford. This is the DJ's third visit to India.
While here, Posford will play all his DJ sets as he starts his tour from Delhi and covers Mumbai, Pune, Banglore and Goa. The musician will perform a Younger Brother DJ set at Aurus in Mumbai on November 28 and a Shpongle DJ set at Blue Frog on December 4. "More and more Indian promoters are now showing an interest in international trance artistes and even though trance as a genre is still fairly underground, there is greater visibility," he says.
Over the years, trance and its sub-genres such as psytrance, tech trance and Goa trance, have undergone immense transformation; new sounds have come up, along with better technology, ensuring the music a wider reach.
Posford is not convinced that's an entirely positive development and says, "These days musicians use the same baselines. In the past, they experimented with a massive range of tempos and that's the exciting phase that I want to go back to." The DJ expresses a fondness for Indian music when he says, "I love Indian classical and Sufi music. I am very fond of Midival Punditz, Pandit Ravi Shankar and Anoushka Shankar and of course, AR Rahman's Jai Ho." Posford has some very fond memories from his past two visits to the country. "Last year, I performed at an Indian wedding in Vadodara. I was the gift for the groom from the bride's side— the groom got so emotional. I was really touched," he recalls. Post his professional tour, Posford has slightly more touristy plans. "I am going to visit Madurai and spend some time at an ashram in Pune to meditate," he says.